As a patient of Deddington Health Centre and someone who has relied on the convenience of the dispensing service, I am extremely disappointed to hear about the changes. In its current format, many patients are able to collect prescriptions quickly and easily when visiting the Health Centre. Deddington is a thriving village with a dispensary which serves a large number of my constituents in some very rural areas. I am particularly concerned about the impact of changes to elderly patients. When I was first made aware of the proposals some weeks ago, I contacted the Director of Commissioning Operations at NHS England, to make my own views known and pass on the concerns of all of my constituents who had contacted me to express their dismay.
In their response to me, NHS England explained that they had received an application to open a new pharmacy in Deddington which had been considered in accordance with current regulations. It was initially rejected but an appeal was upheld by NHS England. In their response to me, NHS England explained that:
The Deddington Health Centre currently operates a dispensary which is not able to offer the full range of NHS Pharmaceutical services. A community pharmacy operates under different regulations and must, for example, have a pharmacist available in order to dispense prescriptions. A pharmacy would offer the full range of NHS pharmaceutical services to all patients in Deddington and any other member of the public.”
While I feel it is important for Deddington to have access to a pharmacy with a variety of services, I remain concerned about the impact of the changes on existing patients. NHS England have since assured me that if any of my constituents feel that it is extremely difficult for them to get their medication from a community pharmacy rather than from the GP Practice, it will be possible for them to apply for an exemption.
"Those wishing to apply for an exemption should contact Beth Lacey on 01865 963808 or email firstname.lastname@example.org . If any of my constituents encounters difficulties with this process, I am more than happy to help, so do not hesitate to contact my office on 01869 233685.
Dispensing services has been an area I have taken a keen interest in at Westminster. I met the Chair of the Dispensing Doctors Association in April and have since coordinated a joint letter with my colleagues to the Minister for Primary Care, Steve Brine, to raise concerns about the long-term sustainability of dispensing doctor practices, given their unique position in rural communities.”
Update: 17 October 2018
Following concerns raised by a number of my constituents about the accessibility of the new pharmacy in Deddington, I got in touch with the Chief Executive of Delmergate Ltd to pass along my own views as well as those of my constituents.
In their response to me, Delmergate explained that their opening times of 09:00 to 17:30 were decided on during the extensive application process, where a number of parties were invited to express concerns and objections. However, given the further concerns raised, Delmergate will be extending their opening times to 18:30 in a provisional period where they will monitor usage and footfall.
As well as the extended timings, I was pleased to learn that Delmergate also offer a free prescription collection and delivery service for homebound patients. The new pharmacy can also stock medicines for patients and provide advice without appointment.
I do feel it is important for Deddington residents to have access to a range of services through the new pharmacy, but I have held reservations about the impacts of the change on existing patients. However, NHS England has assured me that any constituents facing extreme difficulty in getting their medication from a community pharmacy can apply for an exemption. This can be done by contacting Beth Lacey on 01865 963808 or by email to email@example.com.